Monday, January 23, 2017

"Supper" Heroes of the Kitchen

It's 2:13 PM on Sunday as I'm finally sitting down to write this and I'm pretty well beat; I've been in the kitchen since around 10:30 this morning doing meal prep for the week. My feet are screaming at me, but I don't feel bad for ignoring their whining considering I've now got 12 meals in the fridge ready for grab-n-go this week.

I'm going to pat myself on the back for a moment - I'm still *mostly* sticking to the diet  healthy way of eating (WOE) we started at the beginning of the year (it's pretty much halfway between paleo and Mediterranean), and trying to stick to that WOE has drastically changed the staples that I used to keep in the kitchen for quick meals. The hardest change was slowly emptying out our cheese drawer and ditching the assorted pre-sliced cheeses. I might have cried a little, but the occasion Babybel gouda mini-wheels have kept me from going on a dairy-deprived rampage. If you haven't had these, you're missing out on little pieces of heaven.

Other changes haven't been nearly so hard:

  • I've swapped pastas for zucchini and eggplant (the spiralizer comes next week!).
  • Red cabbage slices make shockingly delicious salsa scoops with the right amount of crunch.
  • Marinated cucumbers are seriously good on everything. EVERYTHING.
  • So is sliced/shredded turkey breast. Getting whole smoked breasts (1-3 lbs) on sale then slicing/vacuum bagging/freezing at home has given us a great source of fast protein that goes in everything from salads to wraps to stews and saved a bunch of money in the process (suck it, Geico.)
And last but not least:
  • My favorite hero to replace sugar/sweet sauces in entrees: frozen no-sugar added orange juice concentrate (FoC from here on out). Buy this. Keep this in your freezer. It's a game changer for flavor AND it cuts out refined sugars in favor of natural sugars.
I can't tell you how many times I've pulled out the FoC when recipes called for either sugar or something else syrupy, and it ALWAYS tastes better. It also adds a major flavor boost when you need a little zing. Here are just a few of the ways I've used it:
  • Homemade vinaigrette recipe calls for half a cup of sugar? Ditch it. Use a single tbs of sugar and add two tbs of FoC instead. 
  • Citrus chicken/pork marinade - 1 cup plain greek yogurt plus 1/4 cup FoC. Throw in curry/coriander to taste.
  • Hawaiian Ham glaze - Ditch the brown sugar! Thaw 1/2 cup of FoC with pineapple (still no-sugar added) and simmer with 1/2 cup of honey on the stove top until it has an even texture, then you're ready to glaze the ham! Note - I like to spear the ham with pineapple chunks when I make this recipe.
  • Zesty sandwich dressing - 1 tsp of natural mayo blended with 1 tbs of FoC. Great on turkey or ham sandwiches.
  • Quick-pickled red cabbage - add 1 tbs FoC to 1 cup vinegar (I prefer white wine vingar), pour over finely-chopped raw cabbage until covered, and keep in the fridge for great salad, wrap, hot dog, or burger toppings. 
Honestly, if sweet is what you're craving and you can imagine citrus going well with it, this is a really fantastic way to soothe that sweet tooth without blowing up your refined sugar count for the day on your calorie tracker. You even get a great dose of vitamin C while you're at it. So, basically, it's totally here to save the day... from the flu.

Now it's question time! I've let you in on my favorite "supper" hero secret. What are you favorite healthy trade-offs?


  1. Actually I don't trade off anything Ashley, I eat what I want throughout the day and count all the calories. I am relatively careful about portion sizes. Mind you I don't really have unhealthy food habits I guess. I lost 50 lbs in 2013 and thank goodness I haven't found it yet.

  2. I doubt I ever give up pasta and cheese, but I love the idea of using the FoC in recipes. I love the zing of citrus!

  3. Wow!! This is amazing. Great job girl

  4. I have been making vinaigrette longer than some of your girls have been alive. My recipe came from a Frenchwoman, in France. I certainly do not use even a tablespoon of sugar let alone half a cup.

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